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tv   The Ed Show  MSNBC  January 26, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am EST

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out this. >> elizabeth warren, thank you very much for joining me tonight from my hometown in boston. >> thank you for having me here. >> "the ed show" is up next with more reaction to tonight's debate. good evening, americans. welcome to "the ed show" from new york. this is "the ed show." let's get to work.
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richard, let's start with you tonight first. talk about the game plan that mitt romney had tonight with the backdrop of some very tough financial news that came out today for romney. did he have to take this stance tonight in order to be aggressive to make somebody else the focal point? what do you think? >> he headed to capitalize on what we see in the polls, which is actually that newt has the advantage and has been overtaken. he needs to land that final punch here and in 9 newt gingrich the oxygen moving forward, which is what his debates have always been. there's no ideas, no comeback from a lot of the reach search
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that he landed right there. you listen to how he sees the moment. he laid some traps for himself, but he did what he had to do. >> this is the first debate that mitt romney has had in a new debate coach from the michelle balkman camp, but o'donnell stepped in to help mitt romney. was there a difference tonight? >> michele balkman didn't do bad in terms of that. she is a solid coach. romney came out much more aggressively tonight. she countered every of fact to have that moment. they live for that moment where they can go after the moderator to get the crowd on his side. when he tried to have that moment, not only did mitt romney come back strong, the moderator didn't allow it. it was almost deflation for newt gingrich. he really cannot afford a performance like this. >> we know that immigration is a
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big issue. that is where they got into it early on. here it is. >> is he still the most anti-immigrant candidate? >> i think of the four of us, yes. >> that is simply inexcusable. that's inexcusable. marco rubio said that was in afflalo and inappropriate. mr. speaker, i am not anti-immigrant. my wife's father was born in wales. they came to this country. the idea is propulsive. i am glad you withdrew. i think you should apologize for it, and i think they have recognized that that does not justify labeling people with highly charged epithets. >> all i want to do is allow the grandmother to be here illegally with some rights to have residents and but not citizenship. so that he or she can contribute with in the loss. >> that are not --
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[ applause ] >> our problem is not eleven million grandmothers. our problem -- [ applause ] >> all right estimate and jimmy williams, immigration has been a tough issue for mitt romney. did he shore up that tonight? >> all four of them did. i was listening to my self thinking, welcome to the marco rubio stuck up party. it was astonishing how they all did that tonight. i would all say that gingrich played the right thing for south florida caron me play the right thing for northern florida. we will see how it does for them. by all accounts tonight, i think that what richard and joanne just said is right. >> gingrich was not on his best tonight. the error of his ball is blown out. ronny absolutely got him tonight. ronny also lied about what
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obamas said about cutting medicare. he lied more than once. that is going to come back and haunt him if he does win this nomination to go up against barack obama. when he does, he will have to go up against the barack obama team. >> one thing that newt gingrich did not change tonight, and that is his constant attacks on the media. listen to this exchange. >> are you satisfied right now with the level of transparency as far as his personal finances? >> you and i have a great relationship. i am with him. this is a nonsense question. [ applause ] >> you have a chance to talk about a whole range of issues. >> we make a series accusation, you need to explain that. >> do you want to try again? >> wouldn't it be nice if people didn't make accusations of else that they weren't willing to
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defend here? >> all right. given that standard, hindemith, i did say i thought it was unusual. it would be nice if he had the same standard for other people report that he did not enter into personal attacks about personal activities about what is factually wrong. i would glad to have a truce with you. >> i am happy to describe the things that i believe with regards to the speaker's background. we will get a chance to do that as time goes on. >> how do you score that back and forth? i think that is a product of what we have seen with citizens united. eventually it will show up in the debates. >> a couple things. his attacks on the media didn't work because he did not have the crowd with him. there were many more stupid questions, sorry to wolf blitzer, who is otherwise a great newsman. how many questions did they
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spend on other people's wives and who would be the west's best first lady. ridiculous stuff. mr. ronny said that the ad that he had put on radio was not his own, even though it was his own. he said he approved the message. those kinds of squirming, wriggling, lying answers are really going to catch up with mitt romney moving forward, never mind the fact that mitt romney said the problem is that he cannot get his state of the union passed and that he would get it passed. i don't understand where his positioning is. yes, he schooled newt gingrich tonight, but his position in on what he wants to do as president is confusing. >> i thought that rick santorum had one of his better performances tonight. i thought he was very solid on his answers and his issues. much more direct. i also think his answer on the dominican republic and also the relationship in cuba was very
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good. santorum went after running on health care. they got to that. here it is if. >> does everybody in massachusetts have a requirement to call health care? >> to buy health care or pay the state for the cost of providing them free care because the idea of people getting something for free when they could afford to care for themselves is something we decided in our state was not a good idea. >> so in massachusetts, in massachusetts everybody is mandated as a condition of breathing in massachusetts to buy health insurance. if you don't, and if you don't you have to pay a fine. free rider should have gone up five-fold, five times the rate it was. >> that is total complete -- >> five times the rate because people are ready to pay a cheaper fine and then be able to sign up to insurance which they are now guaranteed under romney care. >> it's not worth getting angry
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about. secondly -- [ applause ] >> secondly, 90% of the people have insurance, and so the idea that more people are free riding the system is simply impossible. >> your mandate is no different than barack obama's mandate. is the same mandate just like he takes over 100% you do. >> mitt romney leads in florida by five points. that might have dug into that lead a little bit. >> rick santorum was probably the most effective attacker of mitt romney on that stage because newt gingrich did such a poor job. he was correct about his anger problem. that is not really presidential, but what you see in all of these exchanges is that even when one of the candidates is doing well exposing the other flaws, they expose their own in the process. newt gingrich ties to go after a moderator but exposes the fact that mitt romney is not
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truthful. in that ad newt gingrich said spanish is the language of the ghetto. santorum attacks rummy care being obama care. he is correct, but he exposes his own presidential demeanor. >> here is romney claiming he doesn't know what is in his ads. >> you've had an ad running saying that speaker gingrich called spanish the language of the get-go. what do you mean by that? >> i haven't seen the ad. i don't get to see all of them. >> there was one of your ads running here in florida. on the radio. at the end, you say i approve this ad. if is -- >> let me ask you a question. me ask the speaker a question, did you say what the ad says or not? >> taken totally out of context. i did not say it about spanish. >> i just don't see mitt romney gaining from this debate
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tonight. he came out more aggressive, but substantively he kept getting tripped up. what do you think? >> short-term gain for long-term pain. i go back to what i said earlier. did he do okay when it came to -- being bridged did poorly, romney did better, but again, saying you don't know what is in your ad, when you say did you approve the ad, it reminds me of 2004 with john kerry, who is a very honorable man and is a vietnam war veteran. the flip-flopping issue is going to dog him like crazy. if you think for a skinny second that barack obama and david axelrod and those guys are going to let him get by with this stuff comes summer and fall, he's clearly delusional. i hate to say it, but i am sorry. you cannot set up on a stage with hundreds of thousands of people watching you and just wide. you can't do that when you are
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running for president. it goes to your credibility. >> richard wolf, what is the headline at this hour about florida? >> well, the headline right now is that newt has missed his last chance to turn this around. that means that the race moving forward, if this still holds true, and it could change in 24 hours at this rate, but as if this holds true, gingrich's in for an ugly february. he has to try to keep the money flowing to get through to supers tuesday. he can do it, but it's that much harder for him to hang on. he needed this florida win. it's not over, but he has a lot of work to do to convince that money to keep moving. >> joy ann, your thoughts. >> florida, 11% of the republican base is hispanic. those ads, he is pouring money into them. it will cost newt gingrich south
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florida. ronny didn't do great tonight but he did enough to stop new in florida. >> always a pleasure. thanks so much. coming up, the democratic leader in the house has some pretty bold predictions about the republican primary. my exclusive interview with nancy pelosi is next. later, jan brewer said she felt threatened by the president during their exchange last night. the president is responding, and so is professor and james peterson. and in wisconsin, breaking news on a story that has major implications for governor scott walker and the effect to recall him. we will have the latest on the arrests in wisconsin. this is the ed show only on msn bc. we are right back. [ male announcer ] what makes you trust a company?
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the president tonight told abc news that the food stamp made by newt gingrich will show you what he said. jan brewer, the governor of arizona, said she felt threatened during this exchange. now a fellow republican is questioning the governor's account of events. breaking news out of wisconsin. two more former scott walker aids have been arrested. john nichols says this is going to have a big impact on the recall. share your thoughts on twitter using #ed show. we are right back. [ male announcer ] the inspiring story of how a shipping giant can befriend a forest may seem like the stuff of fairy tales. but if you take away the faces on the trees... take away the pixie dust.
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i had an opportunity today to sit down with nancy pelosi earlier at the democrats retreat in maryland. i asked her about the republican presidential field, state of the race, and about her starring role in a romney campaign ad. >> how you feel about being in a romney campaign ad? >> it has happened before it. welcome to the climate change adds. everybody makes it like, oh, you sat on the sofa with nancy pelosi. we came together to talk about the climate crisis, which i thought he had an interest in. i wasn't particularly interested in sitting on the sofa with him either, but the bigger issue of climate change brought us together. al gore bringing people who had been on opposite sides of different issues coming together. i thought it was powerful. it was worth it. i haven't seen the ads, but this
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is more about what president obama is going to do when he wins the reelection. it's about reigniting the american dream. we are here to talk about how we do the work that is necessary to reignite the american dream, to make it an american, build the industrial manufacturing base, to have the education and training necessary for our children and for america's competitiveness. >> if the ad is inaccurate, should the romney camp pull it? >> you know what, i haven't seen the ad. i don't want to get involved in that campaign. i have casually mentioned that people should read the public record. i think it takes away the focus of what is really serious here. the risk that president obama pointed out in his state of the union address, the risk to the middle class and how crucial this time is to the middle class and how we have to make
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decisions, which are a stark contrast to what the republicans have put forth. >> we have a big discussion right now about income inequality, taxation, the president brought up challenge the tax code. we have one of the candidates over on the republican side that has money in a swiss bank or had money over there, cayman islands. does that present a problem, do you think? >> i think it does, but the issue of equity and equality is not just about what people earn but what they can own, home, small business and the rest. it's about fairness. this income inequality is immoral. i wish that some of our faith based groups would speak out about this as well. >> is it immoral that it romney placed there to put 9% at least one of the years he released? >> you are better versed on his tax returns than i am. all i am saying is that we need
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to eliminate tax cuts for the wealthiest people in our country. we have to have fairness and simplicity in our tax code, and we have to do it in a way to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of america that encourages small businesses, that is fair to wage owners and earners as well as those who want to start their own business or be self-employed. the imbalance of it all is not good for the country, and many people who are high income earners know that. they don't all subscribe to the romney route. >> well, the romney route is to have money offshore, accounts of short. what message does that send to the american people? >> republicans will have to make a judgment. i think they have a contest where they have a winner. that is how i would describe the primary, caucus, nominee in the process. i think it is a contest without
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a winner. it will be interesting to see what values they choose one over the other in terms of, is it more important to have money offshore, and surtaxes or ignore newt gingrich. >> where will american people come down on that? >> i have no doubt that president obama will be reelected president of the united states. he is a person of vision, knowledge, judgment, a person who thinks in a strategic way of a plan to get things done for the american people. >> the president seems to getting rave reviews for his state of the union address, but he also said in the state of the union address that somebody is going to have to take a haircut. we can't have it both ways as far as the tax cuts and cutting programs and budgets. how essential is it that the democrats don't let social security, medicare and medicaid become a punching bag financially to allow the republicans to get what they
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want? this is something that is very important to the democratic base. >> any measure of public opinion will show you that whether it's democrats or republicans, independents, young people or old people, women in particular know that social security and medicare are essential to their well-being. let me say this, the president has been clear that we made the discretionary cuts that we are going to make. when they tried to keep a tax break at the height and and saying, now you have to cut someplace. we are not going there. in terms of the mandatories, which is different from the discretionary. forgive me for talking that language. >> of course. >> the fact is, if there is a way to make social security solvent for a longer period of time, let's put that on the table and keep that money in social security trust fund. the message has to be clear that
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social security is not a slush fund or atm machine for tax hikes for the rich. if you are going to talk about strengthening social security, let's talk about that, but not to take money from it. it has not contributed to the deficit, and it's not going to underwrite tax cuts for the rich. >> citizens united playing a big role in the campaign. will the democrats be able to compete against the corporate money that is just flowing in to romney, gingrich, even governor walker in wisconsin, where there is going to be a recall election. how do you view citizens united playing out? >> last saturday was it two-year anniversary of the most unfortunate supreme court decision. i understand a lot about government and politics. i will never understand why they felt that was a good idea, that you could have unlimited,
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unidentified special-interest money. >> received at now. >> we have a deluge in the political system. that is why when we talk about reigniting the american dream and building ladders of success, you cannot have opportunity and fairness in our country as a policy unless you have openness and transparency in the political system. we are talking about a new politics free of special interest money. chris ben howland has taken the lead on disclosing that, something we can put forth. when we win, we will reform. we have to have clean campaigns. status quo cannot exist, and we will work to amend the constitution to eliminate this injustice. >> coming up, president obama responding to the charge that he is america's food stamp president, and he is setting the record straight on his meeting with general where. new jersey's radical governor needs a lesson on the
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civil-rights movement. chris christy is going in the zone. stay with us.
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it looks like he wants some gas. how's it going, gentlemen? what's up, man? gas prices keep going up. crazy, man. but seeing how i saved hundreds on car insurance with progressive, this tank's on me. we getting a whole free tank of gas. the dude from the progressive commercial, man, he just filled up our tank for us. appreciate it. take care. fill it up? free tank of gas. man, switch to progressive, dog. they doing a lot of good out here, man. tell him the messenger sent you. and in psycho talk tonight, i don't if there's any humor in this at all, because there isn't. governor chris christie of new jersey says people would have been better off putting civil rights on a ballot down in the south in the 1960s. christie made the outrageous comment when he was talking about putting gay marriage in a state referendum.
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he said he would veto a gay marriage bill from the legislature. but then he said this -- >> the fact of the matter is that i think people would have been happy to have a referendum, you know, on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets, in the south. okay? >> yeah, kay? there's a guy out of touch, folks. reaction to governor christie's remark was very swift. from new jersey assembly speaker sheila oliver, "governor, people were fighting and dying in the streets of the south for a reason. the majority refused to grant minorities equal rights by any method." from assemblyman gordon johnson, he says, "the governor apparently doesn't even understand that minorities likely would have been blocked from voting on a civil rights referendum in the south in the 1960s. you know why? because they didn't have civil
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rights!" and from newark mayor, cory booker, "i shud tore think what would have happened if the civil rights gains, heroically established by courageous lawmakers in the is the 60s were instead conveniently left up to popular votes in our 50 states." for governor christie to say people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights is just flat-out clueless. indefensible psycho talk. bill gates says he agrees with me. >> the president is on the stump. the romney campaign is on the ropes and the fair share conversation. we'll get the latest with ari melber and professor caroline helband next. i felt a little bit threatened. >> now jan brewer says she felt threatened by ft. on the tarmac in phoenix? james peterson on the racial
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aspect of that remark. i will continue to be a good steward of the taxpayer's dollar. >> liar! >> and a bad night last night turned into a worse day today for scott walker. there have been two more arrests made. john nichols has the latest. what makes the sleep number store different? the sleep number bed. the magic of this bed is that you're sleeping on something that conforms to your individual shape. you can adjust it to whatever your needs are. so whatever you feel like, the sleep number bed's going to provide it for you. and now, the company that redefined sleep is redefining memory foam. save $400 on our all-new memory foam bed. and at our white sale, stock up and save on our
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welcome back to "the ed show." president obama has been forced to bat down ridiculous attacks from the right on income inequality. today in las vegas, he talked about so-called envy. >> when americans talk about folks like me paying their fair share of taxes, it's not because they envy the rich. just yesterday, bill gates says he agrees with me that most, that americans who can't afford it should pay their fair share. i promise you, bill gates does not envy the rich.
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he doesn't envy wealthy people. this has nothing to do with envy. it has everything to do with math. >> republicans are nervous about losing this argument. income inequality and taxes are issues where americans are clearly siding with the democrats. so republicans cry class warfare. today, warren buffett had a few words to say about that. >> so, if this is the war, i wouldn't call it a war, i'd call it a struggle, but if this is a war, you know, my side has had the nuclear bomb. we've got "k" street and lobbyists and we've got money on our side in terms of contributions, we've got money on our side in terms of lobbyists. >> and mitt romney seems to be the poster boy for an unfair system that's stacked against the middle class. he can't even get his offshore accounts straight on a financial disclosure form. let's turn to our panel tonight. let's bring in ari melber, who is a correspondent for "the nation" magazine and also professor caroline heldman, professor of politics at
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occidental college. great to have both of you with us. all right, ari, let me ask you first. is romney just in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong tax reform and the wrong financial disclosure sheet? isn't this a huge problem? >> it is a big problem. usually being really rich is a huge advantage in running for office. and we know about people who self-fund, which he has done some of. so it's a great thing to have that much money to spend. but, boy, he is caught in the buzzsaw of this debate, and i thought it was most striking not with warren buffett or obama, but in the republican debate when he turned to the newt and said, well, under your plan, someone like me would pay nothing. someone who makes as many millions as he does. you really don't want to be cast in that role in this kind of climate.
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>> professor, about income inequality. can the democrats ride this conversation all the way to november? >> i think they can, if you look at polls, three quarters of americans want the wealthy americans, meaning the top 1%, to pay more in taxes. and it's no surprise. i mean, look at mitt romney, he's making $60,000 a day, and he's making money off of money. he's not making that off of labor. and he's paying less than 15%, which is far less than your working class americans are paying in taxes. so it makes a lot of common sense for obama to really hammer away at this in the general election. >> how much of a problem, professor, do you think this is for mitt romney, when it comes to ethics in government, some regulations about being forthcoming under a number of different laws. what do you make of it? >> well, i think back to 2008 when john mccain looked at 23 years of mitt romney's returns and he chose sarah palin as his vice presidential choice. so i think there's actually a lot there that he is very afraid to release. otherwise, he would have done it
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already. >> here's president obama on whether gingrich's food stamp president has an undercurrent of race. let's play it. >> i think the american people are going to make a judgment about who's trying to bring the country together and who's dividing it. who reflects sort of the core values that help create this country, values of hard work and responsibility, but also looking out for one another, and who is, you know, tapping into some of our worst instincts. >> is that what he did? >> no, i'm just saying they're going to be making these decisions. >> was the president a little hesitant there, ari? >> i think he was. the white house doesn't want to carry the the water on this, and we know why. it's really up to us, and i mean us as citizens, to decide whether we're going to stand for this garbage. ly i will note, there has some stuff like this around the edges last time and it didn't work against the president. newt gingrich may not end up being the nominee, but he's making racially motivated attacks that i think the american people will reject when we get out to a general electorate. >> ari melber, professor heldman, thanks so much. up next, jan brewer said she felt threatened by president obama during her finger-pointing session yesterday.
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metamucil. down with cholesterol. arizona governor jan brewer said she felt threatened by the president of the united states. dr. james peterson joins me next. don't forget to tweet us using #edshow. [ heart beating, monitor beeping ] woman: what do you mean, homeowners insurance doesn't cover floods? [ heart rate increases ] man: a few inches of water caused all this?
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arizona governor john braeuer brewer has spent the last 24 hours trashing the president of the united states, to just about anybody who will listen. this photograph of brewer pointing her finger at president obama in phoenix yesterday was the governor's ticket to a series of media appearances. she seemed to be on a mission to portray the president as a menacing guy. >> i was trying to be very gracious to him, and he just reacted in a very negative manner of which took me back.
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and he immediately took umbrage, if you will, with my back that i wrote, "scorpions for breakfast," and was somewhat of disgruntled, if you will. in my opinion, it was a terrible encounter. i don't know why he was surprised by my book, but he evidently is and he was very thin skinned in regards to it. i felt a little bit threatened, if you will, in the attitude that he had. >> threatened. that's the word she used to describe the encounter. their conversation took place on the tarmac in front of the president's security team and the entire press corps, but she was threatened, felt threatened. the president apparently told brewer a passage in her new book about an oval office meeting between the two of them was, well, inaccurate. brewer was the one jabbing her finger in the president's face. but she wants us to believe that she felt threatened. here's president obama's side of the story. >> i think it's always good
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publicity for a republican if they're in an argument with me. but this was really not a big deal. >> were you tense? >> you know, diane, i'm usually accused of not being tense enough, right? too relaxed. >> so you weren't? >> no. >> i'm joined by dr. james peterson, director of africana studies and associate professor of english at lehie university. good to have yo with us tonight. >> how you doing, ed? >> good. >> she said she felt threatened. two questions. first of all, what's your reaction to the picture and what's your reaction to her saying she felt threatened. >> first, the picture is absurd. it's pretty offensive. this is not the way that you interact with the president of the united states. and we know the context of this. we haven't seen this kind of disrespect directed at any of the presidents during my lifetime. and let me say one other thing about the picture. there is no grace at pointing your finger in someone's face.
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however she's trying to characterize her side of the interaction, it gets sort of erased by the fact that you have your finger waved in the president's face. we've had an ongoing conversation, ed, with you, yourself, other folk on your show, about the ways in which republicans and other folk on the right are coing some of their language around situations of race. this idea that somehow a black man, just by being a black man, is going to be threatening is really, really problematic. the bottom line here is this is one of the most mild-mannered, moderate folk that people have ever done. anyone who's interacted with him has said as much. the idea that he would be menacing or trying to intimidate the governor simply doesn't make sense. >> well, when you look at her history, and some of the things that she has advocated for as far as illegal immigration, young -- and coupling with that picture, do you think jan brewer has a problem with race? >> if we judged her by her policies, remember, this is what's strange about this as well. because from the left, the
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president has been fairly conservative on immigration issues. obviously, from the right, they feel like he's been to the left, which is the mark of a good moderate. but there should be no beef between governor brewer and the president based upon some of these issues. what the attorney general's office did is they realized that governor brewer was willing to racially profile latino and hispanic folk and anyone who looked like them throughout the state of arizona. that is unacceptable. we live in a free country. so there's no -- you know, from my mind, the policy here is really, really important to consider as well. >> the interaction was about a disagreement over the way brewer portrayed a meeting that took place with the president back in 2010. it was in her new book. here's what brewer had to say about her oval office meeting, right after it happened. >> it was a very cordial discussion. >> what was the tone like? >> very cordial. very, very cordial. >> very cordial.
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well, brewer's book tells a different story. she calls the president condescending and patronizing. so which one do you believe? >> someone here is lying and it's not the president of the united states. >> she's lying? >> yes, clearly. she came out and said that it was cordial, that the interaction was cordial. she repeated that there, but she had to write something different, because her book is more about policy and politics than about the truth. >> and do you think that she actually used this moment to get visibility and to sell a book? >> well, i think that all people in the public eye, especially those folk on the right, but the folk on the left do this as well, use books as leveraging tools to promote themselves. they use photo opes like these as leveraging opportunities to promote themselves. this is just a little bit more seedy than what we normally see. because, one, she's playing on issues of race and that's completely unnecessary, and two, she's not telling the truth. she didn't tell the truth in the book about the interaction. obviously, she's not telling the truth about this finger-wagging interaction she just had recently.
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>> mayor scott smith of mesa, arizona, was there during the conversation in phoenix. he disputes brewer's story about president obama being tense and running off after the conversation, cutting her short. talking points memos reports mayor smith said, "there was no sense that he was running to or from anything. in fact, he said the president stayed and had a pleasant conversation with smith, who's a republican, and phoenix mayor greg stanton, a democrat." what does this tell you? >> again, it tells us that governor brewer is trying to play with the facts in order to enhance this photo opportunity. >> and then she does the media tour. >> exactly. >> she's doing the grandstanding and the media tour, gaming on all of this. that picture, i think, despicable, and i don't care who the president is, no president deserves to be put in that position, and for her to say that she felt threatened, right next to air force one and all of the security teams and all of the media, she felt threatened?
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what did she think president obama was going to do? >> right, what is he going to do? is he going to hit you? do you think he's going to smack -- it's insane. but this is where we are in politics right now, ed. where we are in politics right now, people play the race card, people will manipulate imagery in the public sphere to try to tell lies. the bottom line is with we've got to improve the public discourse around politics. >> dr. james peterson, good to have yo with us tonight. thank you so much. former associates of governor scott walker are facing jail time as a republican election scandal in wisconsin heats up. i'll tell you what, they've got it all in the badger state. ♪
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his former staffers. today, with the milwaukee county district attorney filed a complaint directly connecting illegal activity to walker's campaign for governor in 2010. darlene wink, a former constituent service coordinator was charged with two misdemeanors for using county resources to raise money for walker's campaign. also, scott walker's former deputy chief of staff, kelly rhineflesh, was charged with four counts of misconduct in office. in the way these walker staffers allegedly broke the law is unbelievable. the district attorney's complaint reveals the existence of a secret e-mail system used by insider staffers to conduct fund-raising and over political activities on taxpayer time. thousands of e-mails were allegedly exchanged between county workers and walker's campaign staffers. secret e-mails were also exchanged with campaign workers for then-state representative brett davis, who was running for lieutenant governor. davis is now governor walker's state medicare director. but there's more. the secret e-mail system was
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allegedly set up by former walker deputy chief of staff ti russell, who has already been charged with embezzling $60,000 from a veterans' fund-raising event. so the big question. what did scott walker know and when did he know it, if anything? here's what we know from the d.a.'s complaint. the secret e-mail system. the secret e-mail system was set up through a wireless router housed in an office 25 feet away from scott walker's office. also, darlene wink, one of the two individuals charged today, resigned from her county position in may of 2010 after admitting she was doing campaign work on county time. shortly after her resignation, scott walker sent this private e-mail to tim russell. "we cannot afford another story like this one. no one can give them any reason to do another story. that means no laptops, no websites, no time away during the work day, et cetera."
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governor walker has not commented on the most recent charges and cancelled a scheduled event today, citing bad weather. for more on this, let's bring in john nichols, washington correspondent of "the nation" magazine. he is live tonight from madison, wisconsin. john, how bad is this for walker? >> it's pretty bad. remember, this is the day after the governor's state of the state address. he was supposed to do a tour of the state, stops all over, emphasizing the points that he made in his speech. instead, he was avoiding the cameras and his press secretary was not able to put out a statement responding to these charges, these criminal complaints that have come out, because colin wearily is listed in the criminal complaint. he is one of the people communicating with this secret illegal campaign operation within the county executive's office. among the other people communicating was reince priebus, who went on to become the chairman of the republican national committee. >> okay.
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so the scope broadens here. but we really, right now, are at a point of asking a nixonian type question. what did he know, when did he know it? how involved is walker? how could he not know if his office is 25 feet away from alleged illegal activity? >> well, and remember also, we're talking about tim russell here, who was in so much trouble a week or so ago and is listed in this complaint. his name's all over it. tim russell was for a decade scott walker's wingman. the guy who was at his side in everything that he was doing. another person who's listed in this, all over it is the guy who went on to become governor walker's chief of staff. and the woman who was charged with four counts of misconduct in office, it went on to serve as a fund-raiser for governor walker's campaign and was working for that campaign, right up until recent days. so it's hard to imagine the governor didn't know about this. i think it --
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>> yeah, how does it affect the recall? >> it becomes a much bigger story. you know, most of your viewers have watched the debate what the governor walker did with the labor unions. they're very conscious of that as a central issue. but in wisconsin, a state that has always set a very high ethical standard, these sorts of issues are devastating. >> okay. we'll do more on this in the coming days. it just is as thick as it gets, politically in wisconsin. john nichols, thanks for your time tonight. that's "the ed show." i'm ed schultz, you can listen to me on sirius xm radio channel 127 and follow me on twitter

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